Start-up

You wish to work in the Netherlands as a start-up entrepreneur. You need a residence permit for this. What are the conditions for this residence permit? And how does the application procedure work?

​A residence permit as 'start-up' gives ambitious starters a year to start an innovative company in the Netherlands. One condition in this regard is that they are supervised by a reliable supervisor (facilitator) in the Netherlands. Start-ups receive a great deal of support in the Netherlands to develop into successful enterprises. This is good for the entrepreneur, but also good for employment and the economy.

Why start up a business in the Netherlands? The Netherlands is in the top 5 of the most competitive economies in the world. We have much to offer foreign entrepreneurs and investors: the accessibility by road, rail, ports and airports is excellent. In addition, our digital infrastructure is one of the fastest and most reliable in the world.

With a good business climate also come good living conditions. The Netherlands also takes a world-leading position in (international) education, healthcare and recreation.

Conditions

There are certain conditions that apply to everyone. In addition to these conditions, the following conditions apply to you and your facilitator:

  • Collaboration with a reliable and experienced facilitator.
  • The product or the service is innovative.
  • The start-up entrepreneur has a (step-by-step) plan in order to move from idea to business.
  • The start-up entrepreneur and the facilitator are both registered in the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce.
  • There are sufficient financial means (resources) to be able to reside and live in the Netherlands.

What is a facilitator?

One of the conditions for the residence permit is working together with a business mentor: a facilitator. This cooperation must be laid down in a (signed) agreement between the start-up entrepreneur and the facilitator. 

The facilitator provides the start-up entrepreneur with a tailor-made package of support depending on the specific needs of the start-up entrepreneur. The facilitator may, for example, help with operational management, marketing, research and investing acquisition for setting up an innovative business. 

The facilitator must also meet a number of conditions:

  • The facilitator must have experience in guiding innovative start-ups.
  • The facilitator must be financially sound.
  • The facilitator may not, in any case, be in receivership or bankrupt and must have no negative equity.
  • The facilitator may not have a majority interest in the start-up company.
  • The facilitator may not be a family member up to the third degree (child, parent, grandparent, aunt/uncle) of the start-up entrepreneur.

The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) assesses whether the facilitator meets the above conditions and maintains the list of facilitators who meet the above conditions.

What makes a product or service innovative?

The product or service is innovative if it has at least 1 of the following 3 aspects:  

  • The product or service is new to the Netherlands.
  • It involves new technology for production, distribution or marketing.
  • It involves an innovative organisational procedure and method.

Examples include the following:

  • Business activities stimulated within the context of the Top Sector Policy.
  • Self-developed new products or services.
  • New product-market combinations.
  • Social responsible enterprises.
  • Original approach to energy conservation.
  • Original approach to environmental/sustainability issues.
  • Smart and creative adaptions or combinations for the purpose of cross-sectoral applications.
  • Creative or innovative market approach.
  • Social innovation.

Check for more information www.rvo.nl.

What conditions must the step-by-step plan meet?

The start-up entrepreneur must undertake specific activities to progress from concept to business. The Government wants to know in advance what activities will take place. The start-up entrepreneur provides a description of this in a step-by-step plan. The step-by-step plan provides:

  • Information on the organisation. The start-up entrepreneur must play an active role in the organisation. This means he is not merely shareholder or financier. The step-by-step plan must detail the following:
    • The structure of the organisation.
    • The assigned roles and tasks.
    • The legal form of the company.
    • The personnel.
    • The purpose of the company.
  • A description of the proposed innovative product or service (see What makes a product or service innovative?).
  • A description of the planning and activities associated with setting up the company.

The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) evaluates the start-up and checks complience  with the step-by-step plan On their site you will find more detailed information on ste step-by-step plan and innovation.

Registration in Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce

The start-up entrepreneur must register in the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce. The registration must show that the start-up entrepreneur has an active role in the start-up. This is essential in order to be able take decisions regarding the future company. The facilitator must also be registered with the Chamber of Commerce. The RVO will audit the entry in the Trade Register. 

Sufficient financial resources to be able to reside, live and start up a business in the Netherlands

The start-up entrepreneur must have sufficient financial resources (income) to be able to reside, live and set up a business in the Netherlands. Start-up entrepreneurs may not rely on public funds, such as welfare benefits.

The start-up entrepreneur can prove he has sufficient resources in various ways:

  • The entrepreneur proves by way of a bank statement, that he has sufficient funds in his account.
  • Another (legal) person, for example the facilitator, may fund the stay by providing financial resources to the start-up entrepreneur. The support must be available for the entire stay of the start-up entrepreneur (maximum of 1 year).

Other conditions may apply for Turkish nationals and their family members.

Costs

This application costs € 317. 

Checklist for documents

The application form lists the documents that you have to enclose with your application.

You have to have official foreign documents legalised and translated into Dutch, English, French or German.

 

Steps in the application procedure

1. Submit application and payment

To travel to the Netherlands, you need a provisional residence permit (mvv). The mvv is a sticker that the Dutch representation places in the passport. In some cases, you do not need an mvv.

Are you already in the Netherlands to set up an innovative company and do you have a short stay visa or are you are not required to have a visa? In that case, the IND does not reject the application due to the absence of an mvv if you meet all the other conditions for granting a residence permit as a 'start-up.' An application for a residence permit as a start-up can be submitted in the Netherlands to the IND.

You apply for the mvv and the residence permit at the same time. You apply in person to the Dutch representation in your own country or the country of continuous residence. The Dutch representation forwards your application to the IND. After you have submitted the application, you will get a letter from the Dutch representation stating how the fees are to be paid. For the application form and information on how to submit the form and pay the fees, please contact the Dutch representation.

2. Receipt and check application

After your application has been received, the IND sends a confirmation letter. The confirmation letter states the date the IND has received the application. It also states the period within which the IND makes a decision.

The IND will then check to see if your application is complete and that the fees have been paid. Are documents missing, or are documents not correct? In that case, the IND will send a letter: a request to rectify the omission. This letter lists the documents that still needs to be sent. Send the requested documents before the mentioned date to the IND.

3. Decision

​The IND checks whether you meet all conditions and asks advice from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl, part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs). The Agency provides advice on the facilitator (1), innovativeness (2), the step-by-step plan (3) and the registration in the Commercial Register (4). A positive recommendation from the RVO is necessary in order to obtain a residence permit. The IND evaluates the means (5).

The IND has to make a decision within a period of 90 days.

  • Negative decision

    If you do not meet the conditions, you will not get an mvv and a residence permit. This decision is given in the formal decision. The IND will send the decision by post. You can apply for a review of this decision.

  • Positive decision

    If you meet all the conditions, you will get an mvv and a residence permit. The IND also informs the Dutch representation.

4. Collect mvv

​You collect the mvv from the Dutch representation where you have submitted the application form.

You have 3 months to collect the mvv. Please make an appointment for this with the representation. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months on the day you get the mvv.

5. Travel to the Netherlands

​Once you have collected your mvv, you can travel to the Netherlands. The mvv is valid for 90 days. The validity is shown on the mvv sticker. The mvv sticker shows 2 dates:

  • Effective date: as of this date the mvv is valid.
  • End date: as of this date the mvv is no longer valid.
The mvv allows you to travel within the Schengen Area.

Steps in the application procedure

1. Submit application and payment

​You do not have an mvv-required nationality. You are travelling to the Netherlands in your permit-exempt term. This means that you do not need a visa to travel to the Netherlands. You then have 3 months to apply for the residence permit in the Netherlands.

You submit this application to the IND. The form is at the bottom of this page. Send the application form together with the required documents to the IND by post. The IND then sends a letter stating how the fees are to be paid.

You have to give your biometric information at an IND Desk within 2 weeks after having sent the application. 

2. Receipt and check application

After your application has been received, the IND sends a confirmation letter. The confirmation letter states the date the IND has received the application. It also states the period within which the IND makes a decision.

The IND will then check to see if your application is complete and that the fees have been paid. Are documents missing, or are documents not correct? In that case, the IND will send a letter: a request to rectify the omission. This letter lists the documents that still needs to be sent. Send the requested documents before the mentioned date to the IND.

3. Decision

​The IND checks whether you meet all conditions and asks advice from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl, part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs). The Agency provides advice on the facilitator (1), innovativeness (2), the step-by-step plan (3) and the registration in the Commercial Register (4). A positive recommendation from the RVO is necessary in order to obtain a residence permit. The IND evaluates the means (5).

The IND has to make a decision within a period of 90 days.

  • Negative decision

    If you do not meet the conditions, you will not get a residence permit. This decision is given in the form of a letter: the formal decision. The IND will send the decision by post. You can apply for a review of this decision.

  • Positive decision

    If you meet all the conditions, you will get a residence permit.

Application forms and costs

Application form available at Dutch representation

For the application form and information on how to apply, please contact the Dutch representation.

Checklist documents

The application form lists the documents that you have to enclose with the application. 

You have to have official foreign documents legalised and translated into Dutch, English, French or German.

How to send documents to the IND:

  • You only send copies of your documents, single-sided and on A4 paper.
  • The copies must be complete and legible.
  • Write down your V-number or client number on each copy. If you do not know these numbers, then please write your name and date of birth on each copy.
  • Do not send USB sticks, CDs or DVDs.
  • You keep the original documents yourself. You have to show these documents to the Dutch representation abroad.

Costs application

This application costs € 317.

  • Are you from San Marino or Israel? Based on the Benelux Treaty you do not pay for the application.
  • Do you have the Turkish nationality? Your application costs € 64.​​​​​​

Application forms and costs

Application for the purpose of residence ‘Start-up' working on a self-employed basis (foreign national)7558

Use this form to start your application.

Checklist documents

The application form lists the documents that you have to enclose with the application. 

You have to have official foreign documents legalised and translated into Dutch, English, French or German.

How to send documents to the IND:

  • You only send copies of your documents, single-sided and on A4 paper.
  • The copies must be complete and legible.
  • Write down your V-number or client number on each copy. If you do not know these numbers, then please write your name and date of birth on each copy.
  • Do not send USB sticks, CDs or DVDs.
  • You keep the original documents yourself. You have to show these documents to the Dutch representation abroad.

Costs application

This application costs € 317.

  • Do you have the Turkish nationality? Your application costs € 51.​​​​​​​​

Download  

After the application

Collect your residence permit

The IND aims to have your residence permit ready within 2 weeks following your arrival in the Netherlands. The IND will send you a letter indicating when you can collect the residence permit.
Make an online appointment to collect your residence permit. You do not necessarily need an appointment to do this. However, keep in mind that there might be a considerable waiting time if you do not have an appointment.

Check to see if the information on the residence permit is correct while you are still at the IND desk. If something is incorrect, please inform the IND staff member at once.

Registration with the municipality

Upon arrival in the Netherlands, you must register in the Municipal Personal Records Database (BPR)  in the municipality you are going to live.

To register with the municipality you need a legalised and translated  birth certificate. Take this therefore with you when you travel to the Netherlands.

TB test

You have indicated your intent to undergo a tuberculosis test (TB test) when you applied. You have to make an appointment for this with the Area Health Authority (GGD). You do this within 3 months after having received your residence permit. Please take the 'TB test referral form' with you to the appointment.

In some cases you are exempt from taking a TB test.

Take out health insurance

Anyone living in the Netherlands must take out health insurance. You do this within 4 months following your arrival in the Netherlands.

Validity residence permit

​The period of validity of the residence permit is up to 1 year. After 1 year, you can apply for a permit to work on a self-employed basis. You must meet the regular conditions applicable to the self-employment scheme. 

Right to work

The back of your residence permit shows if you are allowed to do paid employment. Your permit states 'arbeid in loondienst alleen toegestaan met TWV ('only allowed work in paid employment with work permit') This means that, with a residence permit to work 'on a self-employed basis' in a start-up, you may only work if your employer has a TWV for you.

Legal obligations

​There are a number of legal obligations that apply to you.

The IND monitors your compliance with these legal obligations. Failure to meet these legal obligations may have consequences.

Further applications (extend or change) / return visa

Replacement of residence permit

Is your residence permit damaged, lost or stolen? In that case, have the residence permit replaced.

Extend residence permit

It is not possible to extend the residence permit for start-up entrepreneurs (start-up). 

Change residence permit

After 1 year, you can apply for a permit to work on a self-employed basis. Here you must meet the regular conditions applicable to the self-employment scheme

Transition to self-employment scheme

In order to transition to the self-employment scheme, the start-up entrepreneur must meet the conditions normally associated with the self-employment scheme.  

In addition, he must be in possession of a statement from the facilitator, showing that he completed the supervisory trajectory in a minimum of 3 months and with positive results. Thus, the start-up entrepreneur substantiates that he has developed enough personal experience and has a sufficiently viable company. Within the scoringssystem, the statement of the facilitator equals at least the minimum score for personal experience, business plan and added value for the Dutch economy.

Change residence permit

Has something changed in your situation that influences your residence permit? Please report this immediately to the IND. It may mean that, due to the changes in your situation, the residence permit has to be changed.

More information

FAQ: Start-up permit
Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl)
Expat center Amsterdam Area 

Return visa

If you are awaiting a procedure, you do not have a valid residence document at present and you wish to travel outside the Netherlands, you may need a return visa to re-enter the Netherlands. This could be the case if your current residence permit is no longer valid or your current residence permit will expire during your stay outside of the Netherlands. To apply for a return visa you must meet certain conditions.  

Provisional residence permit (mvv)

​The provisional residence permit (mvv) is a visa you need if you wish to stay in the Netherlands for more than 90 days.

Dutch representation

​This is the Dutch embassy or consulate.

Country of continuous residence

​A country of continuous residence is a country (other than the country of origin) where you may lawfully live for more than 3 months. This means you have a valid residence permit for that country. Or that you are waiting for your application for a residence permit to be aproved.

Are you in a country in your free term? Of with a visa for short stay (maximum of 3 months)? This is not continuous residence.

Formal decision

​A formal letter with the decision on your application.

TWV

​A TWV is a work permit. The employer applies for a TWV with UWV (Netherlands Employees Insurance Agency). UWV examines among other things if there is no employee with the Dutch, EU/EEA or Swiss nationality that is qualified for the job. For more information about the TWV, check the website of UWV (only in Dutch).